The magnificent Bunaken National Park is located 30 minutes boat ride north west of the Manado. Established as a national park in 1991, this ‘young’ National park has been considered as one of the most successful national park in Indonesia. There are many scuba divers has been lusting to be in this 8 km2 national park because this national park has so many variety of marine fish tourists can see almost 80% of the fish in the world. Bunaken is one of the places where the hot current and cold current would meet which triggers a very high number of planktons, which means marine life would prosper in this area.
While coral bleaching has affected the other marine park, Bunaken has not been affected by the el-nino. Bunaken it self has been guarded by the locals who turned their back from fishing to become the protector of the reef. They patrol the national park tirelessly to prevent poachers. They also helps in conserving coral reef by starting artificial reef projects. With the involvement of the locals, Bunaken has been claimed as one of the most successful marine park in Indonesia. Their success has been followed by many other marine park in Indonesia.
There are many unique features scuba divers can see in this park like the pygmy seahorse, one of the tiniest seahorses in the world. It grows only up to 1 cm in length, this tiny seahorse adapted to its host sea fan. it even resembles the pattern of its host to escape from its predator such as groupers
The colorful sea-snails as known as Nudibranch (read Nu-di-brang) can also easily spotted even by snorkelers, It poisonous yet colorful flesh serves as protections and warning system against its predator. With it, the nudibranch can afford to roam the seabed and reef without any fear of predators, which makes it easily spotted by snorkelers and scuba divers.
Due to its success in implementing the no-take zone, Bunaken has become the home of many turtles. Many of the residence turtles reached the age of 80. So don’t be surprised tourists can easily spot turtles as big as dinner tables like the one in the picture below.
There are many airlines fly to Bunaken every day from Jakarta. The huge number of dive resorts would make tourist easier to arrange for dives and sight seeing tour of the national park. The flight time is approximately 3-3.5 hours from Jakarta.